Why Professionals Take Their Linkedin Profile Seriously

LinkedinLINKEDIN: 120m+ connected professionals around the world; executives from all Fortune 500 companies; over 2 million company pages

More than likely you have a Linkedin profile. Most of us do. But would you be ready to put it to use if you lost your job tomorrow? As a former trainer for Project: Link it Forward, I learned that corporate workers from the CEO down have no idea how to use LinkedIn to “link” to their next opportunity. It’s been nearly three years since PLF and one would have thought after all the talk about social media and the rise in joblessness, nearly everyone would have their Linkedin profile up-to-date. Not so.

Perhaps one reason is due to the company social media policies I’ve been hearing about lately. It seems some companies are acting as the gatekeepers not only on posts about their company, but what is revealed on their employees’ Linkedin profiles. For example, I know of at least two corporations that ban employees from writing recommendations for employees who are with the organization, who have ever been with the organization, who might join the organization, or people who work for competitors of the organization. Another “rule” that is finding its way into the social media policy is not being able to identify the place where you work. Yes, believe it or not, some organizations do not want their employees to mention the name of the company they work for!

In addition to these company inflicted rules, there are the rules corporate employees put on themselves for protection against overzealous sales people. Many opted to keep their title and job description off their profile or dumb them down to the point of obscurity. Then there is misconception that it is hard or a waste of time to update your profile.

In today’s world where the words downsize, rightsize, reorganize or any of the other dozen catch phrases happen to someone somewhere in the metro nearly everyday, you can’t afford to be caught unprepared. Here are 6 quick tips that can help you look good in your CURRENT employer’s eyes AND a new hiring manager. Keep in mind, this list only scratches the surface of what Linkedin can do for you, but it’s a good primer.

1. Take a critical look at your Linkedin Profile. Are you comfortable adding a photo if you don’t already have one? If yes, add one. If no, don’t, but ask yourself this question every once in a while, you may change your mind (I finally did).

2. Have you created your “Public Profile URL”? This means the URL displayed where is says “Public Profile” has your full name (or personal business) after the /in/. If not click Edit and make this change.

3. What does it say under your name at the top? You can use your title here, for example “Director of Product Services” or you can say what you do, “Helping customers discover a better night’s sleep.”

4. Does your Summary highlight your professional life as you would explain it to your current employer if you wanted a raise and how you would want to present yourself to a future employer?

5. Add skills. We all have them and Linkedin makes them easy to add.

6. Strategically connect to other business professionals you meet on a regular basis. Don’t wait until you’re looking for a job!

If you’re already out of work or have more time, consider adding an app such as the Amazon Reading List app to demonstrate subject matter interest and knowledge outside of work. If you have the inclination AND the time, consider starting a blog, or if you have a professional blog, by all means connect it to Linkedin via the apps provided.

The bottom line is whether your working for someone else, looking for a job or self-employed you need to have a meaningful and up-to-date Linkedin profile. Don’t wait until you’re down on your luck to build one.

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About Karin Khuhro

Karin Khuhro is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Copywriter. As the owner of Strategy E-ssentials she works with other savvy marketers, digital specialists and business leaders to bring knowledge, know-how and solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Connect with Karin on Google+ or Linkedin.